Round 15 – North Melbourne v Richmond: Four quarters of effort

I donned my North Melbourne guernsey and scarf and headed to Etihad Stadium with a quiet confidence. The Roos have had the edge over Richmond in recent outings and given Richmond’s ability to choke and lose the games they are meant to win, I thought we had a very strong chance of beating the top 8 (and possibly finals bound) team.

I took my seat on level 3 amongst a barrage of Richmond supporters and listened to the pre-game talk on the radio. The commentators were giving us half a chance, a rare occurrence indeed.

The game opened with an even affair, with both teams looking good and the score line close. Tarrant looked on and the midfield seemed confident with Cunnington and Zieball together for the first time in weeks. North held a 7 point lead and things were looking promising for the North faithful.

The second quarter was where the game completely changed. North Melbourne was able to dominate the clearances through Goldstein, Swallow and Zieball. Tarrant, Back and Bastinac were able to capitalise on the quality delivery from the midfielders.

Our defensive press restricted the Tigers to 5 behinds, with Hansen helping out Thompson to quell the efforts of Riewoldt. This was the epitome of the perfect quarter for North Melbourne and demonstrated just how good our team can play. Going into the main change 53 point ahead, I am over the moon but in no way ready to celebrate the win. Given North Melbourne’s fourth quarter fades, especially against Adelaide, I needed the boys to continue the dominance for the whole game.

In the third Richmond come out all guns blazing and look dangerous but North were able to withstand the pressure through great defensive efforts from Hansen, Thompson and Grima. Some of the Richmond supporters around me began to blame the umpires, looking for some excuse for the lacklustre performance by their team.

Hine was able to deny Deledio of any real impact and Greenwood put on a magnificient effort against Tigers captain Cotchin, who was nowhere near as effective as he usually is.

Once again, Hansen was the free roaming general in defence and took 15 marks. He has grown into a rock solid player who can secure our defence and, if needed, go up forward and kick a few goals.

The fourth quarter was another good one from North and continued to slot through the goals and apply plenty of pressure. Riewoldt had little to no influence on the game, giving away numerous free kicks and was beaten constantly by the hard working defence. He had zero marks for the game, the only time in his career. Two goals in the final 10 minutes may have made the Tigers supporters happy, but I couldn’t help but smile at a truly impressive performance against a finals bound team. Ultimately, North Melbourne played their best footy of the year, Richmond played their worst; handing the Roos a healthy 62 point win.

Once the siren rung out, one of the few North supporters around me turned around and said ‘Good on you, mate. I could hear you cheering amongst their supporters the whole game.’ We shook hands and revelled as we sang the song loud and proud. It’s amazing what a four quarter effort can do for a team with so much potential, leaving our slim finals chances alive.

North Melbourne    3.3   11.6   15.8   19.14   (128)

Richmond    2.2   2.7   4.15   8.18   (66)

 

 

GOALKICKERS

 

North Melbourne: Tarrant 4, Bastinac 3, Black 2, Mullett 2, Harvey 2, Zieball 2, Petrie, Cunnington, Greenwood.

 

Greater Western Sydney: Morris 2, White 2, Riewoldt 2, Ellis, Jackson.

 

BEST

North Melbourne: Swallow, Adams, Harvey, Hansen, Greenwood, Hine, Bastinac.

 

Richmond: Foley, Grigg.

 

CROWD

45,966 at Etihad Stadium

 

 VOTES

3 Swallow, 2 Adams, 1 Greenwood

 

About Matthew Naqvi

Matthew Naqvi is a writer, editor, and writing group facilitator. He is the Web Editor of The Footy Almanac. He has written for numerous sports organisations and teams including Melbourne Victory, AFC (Australian Fighting Championship) and Football Federation Victoria. He loves North Melbourne.

Comments

  1. Andrew Starkie says:

    Matthew, it may be too little too late. We should win the next two and sit at 8-8. Our run home is tough, however. Go Roos

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